Failure is an option
Players, through playing, can and should be able to meaningfully interact with the world. Usually they make the world better; sometimes they make it worse.
Don’t rob your players of the opportunity and the consequences of a massive cock-up that they sincerely earned.
How to DM these consequences
I will start by saying that I haven’t ...
Sure, you're the DM
The books listed on the back are the books you will absolutely need, because Storm King's Thunder references monsters and rules found in those three books.
Other than that, you're perfectly capable of changing things and using more books to run the campaign. In theory, all races (except for some in Volo's) and all classes should be on a ...
For me, I would advise fully reading all the information provided for a given campaign.
Given that all PCs in the history of tabletop games either accidentally or deliberately subvert DM expectations and plans, a fuller understanding of how the story will play out will help you 'correctly' seat your improvisations within the overall canon.
Instead of a permanent solution consider a Spell Scroll.
Magic Weapon or Elemental Weapon would do quite nicely.
Both provide a +1 to attack rolls and damage (at their lowest slot) and are considered magical, in addition Elemental Weapon provides an additional d4 (again at its lowest slot) of choice of elemental damage upon casting. Both also provide an ...
In Storm King's Thunder, the giant runes are used in magical contexts, as in the various magic items, and as nonmagical insignia—kind of like the no symbol or "Ghostbusters thing." They aren't used to write things down. There are a couple places, such as a location described on page 212, where it's made clear that giants do their sentences-and-paragraphs ...
Ask your DM
Even though the base Vampire's max HP reduction from Bite goes away after a long rest the DM could have made a change to have the creature leave a lasting impression.
Don't be scared to talk to your DM. Just like anyone else, a DM can forget something or misread.
I recommend talking to the DM. Don't specifically say you looked it up but ...
Few "bad" choices, no obvious choices
Player choice is heavily embraced in this story. The players will be faced with numerous ways to complete their objectives, which could require them to travel to many different places in Faerun.
There is a more-or-less required portion in a mountainous arctic environment, and a more-or-less required portion in a ...
You are reading the map correctly.
The Beorunna's Well map and description appear on p. 76-77 of the adventure book.
Here is the DM's version of the map from the adventure on D&D Beyond:
The scale listed there matches the one mentioned in your post: each square on the grid is 50 feet. This is further supported by the descriptive text about the altar:
Drizzt does not appear in the campaign, but one of his companions (Harshnag, page 118-120) does appear as an allied NPC.
And there's nothing stopping a DM that wants to add the legendary dark elf ranger to the campaign - besides a lack of official stats in Storm King's Thunder.
There is a gap in this reasoning. You read polymorphed and thought of the 4th level polymorph spell. Nowhere in the book it states that. Also, the adventure makes no assumption on the party composition - no adventure should be written expecting a specific class and ability and spell. Expecting a caster with that specific spell known is a huge design fail for ...
1. Read ahead. All of it.
You don't need to remember all the details, just the overarching themes, major characters and plot points.
bits of lore or things that the PC's might ask that I do not know.
Players will always ask questions that you haven't prepared an answer to. When they do, you make something up. By reading ahead, you aren't trying to build ...
I would not do it
Rarity in D&D is a good indicator of value (mostly). +1 magic weapons are uncommon. Meaning this would be something the PCs should realistically start getting at higher levels (3-4ish).
Some alternatives: +1 ammunition, the help of an NPC for a combat, or an opportunity for them to realize that they have to be clever and tactically ...
It is normally written in the stat block.
The Uthgardt Shaman's Spellcasting Ability is Wisdom.
For example, you can see that Djinni has innate spellcasting as well. The spellcasting ability and other relevant information (DC, bonus to hit) are written before the list of spells available.
The spellcasting ability information is missing in the Uthgardt ...
In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Remember this quote, and you will survive your first sandbox campaign!
Congratulations on performing your first time as DM for a group. Good idea to use a campaign book. The material is mostly there for you, and it has been tested for ...
The first map had errors. The SKT map had those errors corrected. That's all there is to it.
Christopher Perkins · 27 Nov 2016
There were inconsistencies in previous maps, which we finally corrected in Storm King's Thunder. #WOTCstaff
Ross Cody · 27 Nov 2016
@ChrisPerkinsDnD STK: Mornbryn's Shield & Olostin's Hold - have ...
One per casting
Sansuri's Simulacrum is described on page 197. The key differences are:
"allows her to create multiple duplicates of the same creature"
"requires powdered diamond worth 5,000 gp as an additional material component."
" ...to cast the spell, must be sprinkled over the duplicate and is consumed", emphasis mine
So nothing in this spell says ...
123 DR Year of the Icy Axe
Uthgar dies from wounds received in the battle with Gurt, Lord of the Pale Giants, at the present-day site of Morgur's Mound. His nomad human followers call themselves the Uthgardt in his honor and form tribes based on the beast spirits he was said to have tamed in his lifetime.
Source: Grand History of the Realms (...
There's an easy answer to this question that was brought up in the comments, but I'll put it down here with some of the reasoning why.
Ask your DM
While there is a chunk of lore and this story that you could research on your own, you never know how much of the story the DM is sticking strictly too, if there are things about the Eye of the All Father they ...
Assuming they are starting as level 1 characters, prepping for the very first session should involve close scrutiny of the Tier 1 information (Levels 1 - 4). While there's no harm in reading ahead as an FYI, you want to be clear on the material that is likely to involve them in their immediate next session.
They should not encounter any of the detail of ...
All of it is tripled (3d8+9d6)
Similar to this question, the main question is "what is within the weapon's damage."
From the above question:
Also: As pointed out by Doval, Jeremy Crawford allows all weapon dices to be rerolled. This includes, for instance, a Frost Brand sword's additional cold damage, since that damage is part of the weapon's damage ...
At the end of LMoP, your PCs should be level 5. From the book's perspective, this means you can drop them right into Chapter 2: Rumblings. Page 231 of the book has several possible adventure hooks, but frankly, anything that gets the characters to nearby Triboar will be sufficient for getting the story kicked off.
If you look at the map from LMoP, Triboar ...
None of it. Let them find that out in-game. There are lots of characters through whom you can convey elements of the background story to your players as they play through the adventure.
That is how I ran it and it worked pretty well. A big part of the beginning of the adventure is for the players to figure out what is actually going on.
From my reading the Storm King's Thunder, it seems not all of the encounters can be solved by brute force. Giants themselves are meant to be formidable and difficult to take down foes. And multiple encounters actually encourage the PCs to run away.
While you can adjust the difficulty of encounters in a number of ways (reducing the number of foes, ...
Encounter scaling can happen in many ways. I'll try to cover as much as I can, but I'm sure I'll be missing some.
Upgrade the Party's Gear: Simply upping their damage output might not be enough, along with weapons, give them upgraded armors, and other misc items that boost defenses and offensive potential. (The Dungeon Master Guide will help you here)
This is something I've discovered recently as a new DM myself.
Challenges are often a lot easier than they actually look.
I did a full combat session last week to get used to combat a bit more.
I had 6 level 3 characters defeat all kinds of challenges with challenge ratings that should have been way too high for them.
The last challenge they faced and beat, ...
I have not played nor DMed SKT. I have some experience with sandboxes, though, both homebrew and published. For published sandboxes, I would say most of my DMing time was with Curse of Strahd, so my advices might be a little off for SKT. I hope we get better campaign-specific answers.
For actually learning the content needed for a session from a published ...
There are many other maps of the Forgotten Realms, some of which do have legends.
The Forgotten Realms campaign setting has been around for a long time. It is much older than 5th Edition, and although some things change about it over time, much of the material from older editions is still relevant. It's possible that the newer material is lacking in some ...
They are mostly Humans.
SCAG describes the Uthgardt people in many places.
Quadratic Wizard's answer already tells us about the history in earlier editions, but the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide also presents the history for us in 5e, and it's pretty consistent. Page 94 states, under the heading "The People of Uthgar":
The saga begins in ...